Apple co-founder Woz and Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee voice support for Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing

“Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee have both given their support for CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden, with Wozniak calling him a hero while Berners-Lee said that Snowden and others like him deserved protection for bringing wrongdoing to public attention,” Daniel Robinson reports for V3. “The comments from two such leading luminaries of the technology world came in separate interviews delivered within a day of each other.”

“Berners-Lee was asked whether Snowden was a hero or villain during an online question and answer session on social network Reddit, while Wozniak was interviewed at the CeBIT technology show in Hanover,” Robinson reports. “Berners-Lee said Snowden had provided an important net overall benefit to the world in disclosing the sheer extent of the snooping activities carried out by the NSA and GCHQ. ‘I think he should be protected, and we should have ways of protecting people like him. Because we can try to design perfect systems of government, and they will never be perfect, and when they fail, then the whistleblower may be all that saves society,’ he wrote.”

Robinson reports, “[Wozniak said], ‘When I was young, the Cold War was happening. We had freedom in the US, based on the constitution and the Bill of Rights, while people in other countries could be locked up for saying or doing things, and I believed in that freedom. Now, I see one by one these freedoms crumbling. I think Edward Snowden is like me, he wanted to believe in those freedoms, he saw the US government doing illegal things against the constitution, and he had the guts to give up his life for a principle,” Wozniak said, sparking applause, before adding, ‘I wish that had been me.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan, March 30, 1961

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  1. Snowden is a traitor! He breeched every trust possible! Woz and Cook have destroyed themselves with these idiotic political blunders. Stay the hell out of politics! Especially Hollywood!

  2. I agree with their position but “Luminaries” ?

    Time Bernard Lee : Absolutely
    Woz : Not so much.

    Woz may have been a brilliant hardware hacker but that was then and this is now. “Has been” being the operative word.

  3. Thank you Woz and Tim!

    Snowden = Hero of the citizens.
    US Government = Decaying into fascism. Mass impeachment and trials for treason are required.

    Besides blethering on about these obvious crimes, I also support EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) who have become the spearhead on the Internet for addressing and prosecuting these crimes against We The People. I encourage anyone with an interest in the future of the USA and the Internet to contribute to and support EFF:

  4. its one thing to be an outsider and release this info, but when you’re a gov. employee with access to secret info, steal it, release it to public and then run and hide in russia, you are only one thing. A TRAITOR!

    1. Ed, your statement sounds like to came out of the tail end of Mr. Ed.

      First, I am not sure taking something and revealing it to the public, when that something was acquired through unconstitutional means falls into the category of “stealing.”

      Second, escaping to another country to avoid being thrown in jail by officials who show no respect for the Constitution seems like a logical approach to survival to me.

      Finally, the TRAITORS in this story are the US Government officials who are ignoring our Constitution and spying on citizens.

      1. I agree, to some extent, with “ed”.

        Snowden is NOT a whistleblower. “ed” has the timeline wrong.

        1. Used illegal means to gather data within the organization for which he worked. He illegally gained access to, AND COPIED FOR HIS OWN, PERSONAL USE, information to which he had no authorization (as well as information to which he had authorization).
        2. He did NOT AT ANY TIME try to bring the information he found to any authority — not within the organization for which he worked, not the parent organization, not the U.S. Government agency for which he worked indirectly, not any investigative agency of the U.S. Government. He didn’t even try.
        3. He ran. He left the country.
        4. He gave a subset of the information he had to general publications.
        5. He tried to run further and eventually did run further.
        6. Once he was 100% outside of U.S. Government reach he published more information through various media outlets.
        Simplified timeline: he stole; he ran; he published.

        Here’s a real world situation where it actually was done right. (No names or agencies will be given. If you want to dig deeply enough you might be able to find out the scenario.)
        I routinely work in a regime of systems that deals with sensitive U.S. Government information.
        1. A known individual in this system found out about some inappropriate actions.
        2. He tried to go through proper channels first to bring this to light and got nowhere.
        3. He then published the information through trusted media outlets.
        4. He stayed put. He didn’t leave the state let alone leave the country.
        5. He was arrested and held in solitary confinement (only seeing his lawyer every so often and even then the lawyer visits were monitored and recorded [there are some situations where client-attorney privilege does not count at all and this was one of them — when you’re accused of high treason and aiding and abetting foreign governments your conversations with your lawyer may not be considered privileged.]).
        6. He was held this way for more than six months until a court hearing ruled that he was indeed a “whistle blower” and had tried to use the system, but the system failed him and the country as a whole.
        7. After those six plus months he was released with ALL charges dropped.
        8. He was offered an equivalent job in a different area of the U.S. Government which he turned down.
        9. NOT ONCE did he complain that the U.S. Government treated him improperly. He said he did what he did because it was the right thing to do, and the U.S. Government went through all the appropriate steps necessary to show that he did what was necessary.
        Simplified timeline: he tried to report; he stayed put; he was jailed; he was released.

        Snowden is not a hero. He stole information. Ran. Then published. That is being a thief, a sneak and a coward.

        The person I knew who took his lumps and prevailed is the HERO in my book.

        Yes, several things that Snowden leaked should have come to light. That should not be in question.

        The real problem is that our Senators and Members of the House are passing bills and the Presidents are signing those bills into law that should not be. These laws allow the actions of those agencies, and the agencies are taking the maximum advantage they can of the written laws. In virtually all cases what Snowden published were not illegal actions under the laws. The problems really are with the laws.

        If you want to get outraged, don’t get worked up over Snowden. Get worked up over the Senators, Members of the House and the Presidents who put these laws into place.

        1. First, just to get the side conversation out of the way, I think that I’d disagree with Snowden on many issues, and might even view him as a jerk. That’s completely irrelevant to the important subject: massive government attacks on our freedoms. Whether or not Snowden is a hero or not is mildly interesting (much more so to him, of course), but if the focus is on him rather than what he revealed, we are being distracted.

          Now, since it is being discussed: you sound reasonable in some ways, but then go off the rails. It is a bizarre idea that Snowden should submit to the psychological torture of solitary confinement under some faint hope that the U.S. government he saw abusing citizens’ Constitutional rights would eventually realize its mistakes and set him free.
          Chelsea Manning (was formerly known as Bradley) revealed that the U.S. military covered up the gleeful murder of journalists (among many other things). Her reward? Torture and potentially decades of prison.
          You want to be a martyr? Go ahead, but don’t expect others to sacrifice themselves instead of fighting. You call it “running away,” while I call it “picking your own field of battle.” If he had submitted to solitary confinement, he would have been silenced and we wouldn’t have found out about the abuses. If people stuck to your suggestions, we’d be moving even faster towards a totalitarian state than we already are. You are either naive or deliberately assisting in the abrogation of our freedoms.

          Furthermore, on at least one point, you are either lying or just plain wrong. Snowden tried multiple times to report the illegal activity he discovered, but it went nowhere.

          So, nice try, but fail.

        2. That’s a great post Shadowself, I like the points you laid out. It is great to read your story about that individual albeit there are a couple of points that I’m curious about, such as what is the individual doing now, was he compensated for his time in jail and whether or not anything had change.

          To this last point I can only “guess” that things had not changed, i.e. the statement you made in point 6, notably: “he system failed him and the country as a whole.”

          You further go on to talk about the laws themselves: “The problems really are with the laws.” However they are laws, and what is legal. If that is not perceived as ethical or representative then means beyond the law may be necessary. Case in point, the Boston Tea Party, which was illegal under the terms of British law and brought forth to a degree the American Revolution. Those involved in the American revolution certainly were lawbreakers and traitors to the motherland of Britain, even though today they are considered as heros.

          Snowden yes went out of the system, and what he did was illegal according to the current U.S. laws, but hey when a country has descended into the barbaric state where it tortures people along with all the other crimes the U.S. has committed against humanity recently it takes people to go beyond those terroristic laws of that nation if they have a sense of morality and realize that the system has failed. From where see it the U.S. system has failed and is continuing to fail miserably. It could be that the system fixes itself internally there is that hope. Otherwise it will take the actions of those like Snowden to instigate change. He might be considered a traitor today by the system but someday people might realize that the system has betrayed the people it was supposed to serve and protect.

  5. Ya, sure. A hero. Collects millions of pages of military secrets and goes to China then Russia. Yup. Hero.

    A real whistleblower goes to the press and sympathetic legislators and exposes what are thought to be crimes.

    There were no crimes here, period. Just policies he didn’t like.

    He’s a criminal. He most likely is using this spying garbage as a cover. He’s a Russian spy. Simple as that. He took the job knowing what he was to do. He had a plan and carried it out. Now he will live in Russia. But one day he will get betrayed by a Russian like him. And it will be the end of him.

    1. Again, hopelessly naive, or actually hate freedom.
      Didn’t know so many MDN readers were totalitarianism enablers. Thought the right-wing folks here were at least libertarian.
      But, it’s nice to know that most Americans are glad Snowden did what he did. Scary to see a majority support hist actions, but very few politicians. It’s a great (and scary) example of how, when the shit hits the fan, our elected officials will directly act against our wishes.

      1. One correction on your otherwise excellent statement. Libertarians are not right-wing folks. Libertarians are also not left-wing folks. In fact, I’m not sure much difference even exists today between politicians who classify themselves as right and left wing. It seems they are all neocons who want government to control everything.

        While I’m not an expert on political classifications, I’d define Libertarians as a strange breed who believes in small government, civil liberties, and the ability of individuals to do their own thing as long as it doesn’t infringe on their neighbors.

        Sounds pretty radical I’d say.

  6. I am of the opinion that we are not as safe as before Snowdon released secret information to our enemies. Do I like the choking web of survelence, no. This is a complicated set of issues indeed. Should the governement honor the notion of warrants to do survelence? Yes. Should Snowden be shot? Only after a trial based upon constitutional process. Would I shoot him myself? Yep, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. There were far more constructive ways to deal with his concerns than destroy the agencies he worked for and to tip off our enemies. I wish Woz would think more and say less. Snowden isn’t a hero.

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